A beautiful, heartfelt book about inspiration, creation, fame, and feeling less alone, The Queer Bible is a love letter to the celebrities who have given hope to generations of confused kids, scared teens, and lonely adults. Divided roughly into sections, it’s a book of essays, each written by a current LGBTQ public figure about their respective LGBTQ celebrity hero and what the celebrity’s work meant to them. It began as a lovely website, QueerBible.com (which is still going strong, so if you like this book make sure to check it out) but has been well-translated into an illustrated print form.
I learned so much reading this book! There was a ton of history and cult classic media that I never knew about, or didn’t understand in its full context. The essayists in this book did a fantastic job of not only explaining a lot of that history, but also examining why it mattered to them and matters now. More than that, I loved the tone of this book; none of the writers shied away from talking about how hard their experiences were, and how difficult others had it, but at the same time they all circled back to a place of defiant hope in the face of adversity. The grief and horror of the AIDS epidemic figures largely throughout the book, but it doesn’t diminish the joy of community and self-expression that is the other major theme.
The other fantastic aspect of the book as a whole was the introduction of LGBTQ figures, past and present. I knew some of the famous faces that wrote or were written about, but others were completely new to me – making my reading experience a fascinating journey of discovery. Helpfully, every essay ends with a profile of its author, so you not only hear their voice describing their hero, but you also understand who they are and what they’ve done as an LGBTQ icon themselves.
All in all, this is a vital LGBTQ text, and a great read if you’re looking for a memoir omnibus, a cultural history, and/or a meditation on why media and representation matters.
I was operating under the Southpark-inspired misconception that the worst thing about being a Baldwin is….NOTHING! Quite the contrary. The story arc of Alec’s father is an arduous downhill path. Roughly the first half of the book is a serious downer, touching on all the travails of the working class poor. Marry this with the accompanying drug problems of Alec’s burgeoning fame, and wash it down with a healthy dose of painful romances.
Of interest is the inner machinations of his rise from Knots Landing to 30 Rock, with a sidetrip down a little film called The Hunt for the Red October.
No, Alec does not gloss over his sensational answering machine message. Yes, he does wrap up this work with a somewhat inspiring testimonial of what constitutes an empowered citizenry.
Of course, Alec reads the audiobook himself with his signature snarling whisper. Not surprisingly, Alec has an expansive vocabulary and repertoire of impressions of his fellow actors. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Dark, painful memories can be like a cage. Or, in the case of Alan Cumming, they can be packed away in a box, stuck in the attic to be forgotten. Until one day the box explodes and all the memories flood back in horrible detail.
Alan Cumming grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alex Cumming, Alan’s father. When television producers approached Alan to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, he enthusiastically agreed. He hoped to solve a mystery that had long cast a shadow over his family. His maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared into the Far East after WWII. Alan’s mother knew very little about him–he had been a courier, carrying information between battalions on his motorbike. The last time she saw her father, Alan’s mother was eight years old. When she was thirteen, the family was informed that he had died by his own hand, an accidental shooting. But this was not the only mystery laid before Alan’s feet. His father, whom Alan had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade, reconnected just before filming for Who Do You Think You Are? began. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set into motion a journey that would change Alan’s life forever.
With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father’s Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside. (description from publisher)
Alice Teakle grows on you. In the beginning of Following Polly by Karen Bergreen, I thought Alice was pathetic and weird; I wasn’t sure I liked her. Her preoccupation, not to say, hobby, is following an old school mate, who is now a major celebrity. She seems particularly adept at sabotaging herself and any success she might achieve in work or family life.
As Alice’s life starts to fall apart and she is the prime suspect in first one then another murder, I really began to respect her resourcefulness. Alice turns out to be amazingly adept at hiding from the police, and surviving on the streets.
No matter how bad things ge, Alice is funny and smart (she also has a photographic memory). She is definitely not a stereotypical heroine and the plot’s trajectory is not predictable.
Recently retired and living a quiet and elegant life on the Upper West Side in New York City, Henry Archer unexpectedly gets a second chance with his step-daughter, someone he hasn’t seen for 25 years. Somehow these opposites – Henry is older, gay, successful, Thalia is an aspiring actress just scraping by – make a connection that benefits them both. Thalia brings sparkle and excitement into Henry’s world, as well as more than a few complications including the reappearance of his eccentric ex-wife, an introduction to the world of celebrity and a new love interest.
Lipman is the master of the modern comedy-of-manners story – her characters are real and likable (even the annoying ones), and the dialogue is sharp, witty and fast-paced. The situations our heroes find themselves in may be unlikely, but Lipman grounds them in reality and gives them heart. The Family Man will keep you laughing and wishing for more.